Tuesday, March 30, 2004

New York spring
It is cold, but the snow is gone, lasting only a few days. And so I could start walking, lazy easy hikes in a neighbourhood too busy with human life for me ever to experience all it offers. Irises peeked out in rare bursts of colour, the spring here oddly grey compared to the wild bursts of life breaking out of the melting mud which I am used to. But I am also not used to the blue of irises in March, or the tight yellow of daffodils restricted by fences and nourished into early bloom while I still wear mittens to walk along the waterside.

At the waterside I walk almost undisturbed in the cold sunlight, but fishermen brave all weather in the hope to catch their prey. In the same way as Norwegians will soon bring their chairs, windscreens, coalburners and other necessary items for human comfort into the mountains for easter, I found these two gentlemen tucked up at the pier somewhere in Bay Ridge. Dressed for the weather - but not a fish in two months.

From the pier I have the best view of Manhattan. The skyline looks somehow softer, rounder and more welcoming, with the daring peeks of the WTC gone from the picture. But Manhattan has recovered almost everything, including the press of human bodies in lower Manhattan, filling up my favourite cheesestore and bakery in Bleecker street.

During this stay I realised suddenly that I had not recognized a celebrity even while I was standing right next to him and he spoke to me, teasing me and my NYC connection, as we waited impatiently for a table at a Brooklyn restaurant. My celebrity-recognition abiliy kicked in when I more than a year later had breakfast at the Narrows Coffee Shop and realised that the guys who had signed those pictures probably hung out around here at some point. Oh, well, good thing I am not considering a career as a paparazzi. Celebrities are safe from me for at least a year after any chance meeting.

Of other profound experiences in this week while I have been silent, I have walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, admiring the web that keeps it up.

I have also measured my hand against the back paw of a polar bear, and while I have large hands, I would have to grow a few more if I want to have a chance at covering the same area as one trapped polar bear doing his (or her) laps in the pool at the Children's Zoo in Central Park.

This is the closest I have ever come to a polar bear, and believe me, I don't want to come any closer. I am perfectly happy seeing them in Central Park, and somebody else can go to the Arctic for the Polar Bear Census.

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